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4 ways to automate QuickBooks Online

By Daniel Kenitz · January 24, 2024
A hero image of the QuickBooks app logo connected to other app logos on a light blue background.

Tax time may not be your favorite phrase in the world. But if you find it gives you the heebie-jeebies worse than Halloween, it may be because you haven't prepared enough throughout the year. 

QuickBooks Online is a full-service suite of online bookkeeping tools that helps you manage accounting, payroll, time tracking, and business expenses. But it works best if you're feeding it a steady stream of financial info, not waiting for April 14 to roll around. 

Automation can help keep you on track the entire calendar year so that, come tax time, you won't have to start from scratch and dig through a mountain of digital paperwork. Here's how you can use Zaps—Zapier's automated workflows—to connect the tools across your business to your accounting software so your books are always up to date.

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To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button. It only takes a few minutes to set up. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Get notifications for new payments and invoices

QuickBooks Online is all about measuring money flow, both in and out. This helps with tax tracking and bookkeeping at the end of the year, but it's just as necessary throughout the calendar year. You may need to know when a big invoice has come due and whether a client has paid it.

One option is to continually log into QuickBooks Online and check for this payment manually. But that soon becomes distracting. You don't want to interrupt your workflow with an intrusive thought: I wonder if that client has paid my bill yet? Then you log into QuickBooks Online, check for the payment, get distracted by something else that needs your attention, and before you know it, it's time for lunch—and you forgot what you were initially doing.

Instead, link QuickBooks Online to your Slack or Gmail accounts. With Slack, you can set QuickBooks Online to send channel messages and alert an entire team when the money from an invoice has come in. You can simultaneously ping your bookkeeper with Gmail so they know when the money's come through. 

Send channel messages in Slack for new payments in Quickbooks Online

Send channel messages in Slack for new payments in Quickbooks Online
  • QuickBooks Online logo
  • Slack logo
QuickBooks Online + Slack

Alternatively, you may want to clue in team members when there's a new expense on the books. Set a Zap to send a Slack channel message when a new expense is registered in QuickBooks so you can alert the entire accounting team. Or, if expenses need to be more private, you can send a DM in Slack to the appropriate team member.

Connect your accounting and eCommerce apps

If you handle eCommerce online, you know how quickly your bookkeeping needs can add up. And handling them all manually only works if you have a few customers. As soon as you move from one customer to a hundred, you're spending all your time typing in receipts.

QuickBooks Online offers plenty of features, but that doesn't mean it will always merge with the eCommerce platform of your choice. Say you want to create a new QuickBooks sales receipt every time you receive a new payment in Stripe. Handling it manually is too tricky if you have a lot of orders to deal with. But QuickBooks Online may not have additional options for receiving payments like Stripe does. And you want to use both.

So we say, use both! Let automation bridge the gap. Connect your accounting and eCommerce apps so every purchase creates a new payment through your system while being tracked in QuickBooks Online. This way, you'll stay on top of all payments and all new orders seamlessly—no manual updates required.

If your order fulfillment process starts in QuickBooks, you can also easily connect it to your shipping apps, saving you that second step of moving from invoice to shipping slip.

Back up transactions in a spreadsheet

Want to double-check transaction that runs through QuickBooks Online? Or maybe export all your transactions to a handy spreadsheet or table so you can crunch the numbers yourself? QuickBooks Online has a few exporting features, but you don't have to limit yourself to their outputs. 

If you use Google Sheets or Airtable, you'll have access to additional functions. In Google Sheets, you can leave comments for accounting collaboration online. Or you can use IMPORTRANGE features in Google Sheets to import data from one sheet to another, keeping distinct accounts in perfect synchronization. 

In Airtable, you can turn data into project collaboration features like designating a project status (i.e., "review expenses for January"). And because Airtable lets you set distinct user permissions, you can create separate tables for different team members based on their level of access. This helps you keep your backed-up data safe and secure. 

Either way, Google Sheets and Airtable represent a way to back up your critical sales data. If you ever have trouble logging into QuickBooks, a synchronized Google Sheet or Airtable will keep your business's books humming.

Use webhooks with QuickBooks Online

Don't see the Zapier integration you want? The automation journey doesn't have to end here. You can use Zapier's built-in webhooks tool to connect QuickBooks with the other business-critical apps you use, even if they don't have a Zapier integration.

Try one of these Zaps to get started:

Automate your books and never miss a beat

If you automate your books, you never have to wonder where your business stands. You can have up-to-date backups in Google Sheets and Airtable or receive email alerts whenever a new payment comes in from a customer. With effective automation, there's less guesswork about your cash flow. And when there's less guesswork, there's more peace of mind. Free yourself to focus less on the books—and more on the business at hand.

And this is just the start of what you can do with QuickBooks Online and Zapier. What will you automate first?

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'